Monday, 2 January 2012

Random Recall: Musical Bursts of 2011

Around the midpoint of last year, my obsessive consumption of brand new music came to an abrupt halt.

The reason? Spotify's US launch. 

And maybe a few weeks whiled away on Turntable.FM (still haven't gone back...oops).

As I dug deeper into the seemingly infinite catalogue of music now available to me at the click of a button, I spent the time that might previously have been dedicated to Pitchfork's latest darling instead diving into the full works of artists such as PJ Harvey, Jackson Browne, The Kinks, Van Morrisson and oh so many more.

The end result is overwhelmingly positive for the listener and likely to mean some interesting changes to the way I present music to you here on Heavier~Than~Air. For the moment, however, I simply want to get the posts flowing again and have some unfinished business with the year of music that was 2011. 

To address that I'll be dishing out some missed recommendations over the next week or so, in lieu of any year end lists which would inevitably be only half complete. 

To start with let us ponder The War On Drugs. And not merely for their en vogue governmental nomenclature.

Like an overpowering wave of nostalgia flowing from the hazy fog of summer, this Philly group blend a heady mix of Dylan-esque vocals and a guitar sound that filters the melodies of dream pop through the meandering distortion of shoegaze, often emerging with a potent cocktail with which to party late into the night. Experience 'Baby Missiles' or 'Come To The City' to snag just that feeling.

Elsewhere on hit and miss debut 'Slave Ambient' (Spotify link), they simply lean on the meandering, ending up somewhere in the hot desert, confused and in desperate need of re-hydration. Should you feel the need for comparison, the rather aimless 'It's Your Destiny' should suffice.

Despite the odd misstep, this was an album that urged repeat spins throughout the second half of 2011. Initially fueled by lazy summer days, then propelled still further by that beautiful sonic drawl that so relaxes the senses, The War On Drugs delivered on enough counts to be recalled as a highlight of the year for this frequently distracted listener.

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